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Member Selfies, Zoom Hollywood Squares (Instead of Bradys), and Weekly Live Interviews Could Give You a Fresh Look

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by Ronn Levine

It's always a proud feeling when I can write about innovation in our own SIIA backyard. Over the last few years, I’ve been proofreading the very excellent Year in Review, an annual synopsis of member activities from another division here, FISD. Normally, the publication highlights members with photos from FISD and financial software events around the globe. That's not possible this year, of course.


Enter a plea for selfies.


“Though the pandemic impacted our ability to gather together in person, your friends and colleagues, and we at FISD too, would love to see what you’ve been up to this year and include your photos in the Year in Review. Please send us your selfies…” To get their members in the mood, FISD included selfies of staff in the email (pictured here). Not only does this convey a fun holiday feeling to their community, but it makes staff feel good as well. Just seems like a win-win all the way around. I will be sure to include some snippets when the publication is complete.


This is a good time for fresh ideas. Anything that can combat Zoom fatigue, create community and put a smile on people’s faces—especially at this time of year—is much welcomed. Here are a few other fresh ideas I’ve come across in other association backyards lately:


Extend and extol your events. Informa Markets pivoted—did you know “pivot” is the marketing word of the year?—their October 6-9 Festival of Licensing into an innovative virtual event. The restructured event featured Trivial Pursuit, an MTV-styled workout and Spongebob Squarepants-themed yoga. Also notice the time frame. They transformed the three-day trade show into a three-week experience over a three-month period. Wrote Matt Swenson on the TSNN site: “After-hour activities and built-in breaks like the Spongebob and board game activations were added to alleviate the strain of attending a trade show on a computer. ‘We wanted to quell virtual attendee burnout,’ said Anna Knight, vice president of Informa’s Global Licensing Group. ‘We hope that these styles of events will be as inclusive as possible and enable participation for those unable to attend in 2021 and also those who perhaps have not thought about attending previously.’”


Get creative with Zoom. I mentioned this once before but didn’t show the picture. The Editorial Freelancers Association held a virtual chapter meeting in October. "We are getting the hang of this new format and took advantage of Zoom’s features to maximize our time together." Nothing special there, but the accompanying photo of participants is not the Brady Bunch boxes that we always see, but The Hollywood Squares! Can a Match Game or Family Feud configuration be next?


Show, don’t tell. In the personalized onboarding webinars that Lia Zegeye, senior director of membership at the American Bus Association, conducts, she “shows a short promotional video from ABA’s tradeshow, providing a testimonial about the value of the event from a member’s perspective. Zegeye said she often gets thank-you notes from webinar attendees who say, “Wow, I had no idea you guys did all of these things!” “It’s a great way for me to connect with our members,” she added. The webinars immediately put a face with a name, and members are more likely to reach out to her directly with questions. “Mailing out packets has become a thing of the past,” she said.


Conduct weekly live interviews on Facebook. Chesapeake Family continues to do hard-hitting interviews on their Facebook channel every Friday at 2 pm. Today is an appropriate-for-the-month Pay It Forward program. “Requests for food and gifts for the holidays are at all-time highs. In this special broadcast we will discuss gratitude and how you can Pay It Forward helping others in need.” “I really like to do those virtual interviews as long as we can give 2-3 days notice,” CF publisher Donna Jefferson said, adding that Facebook is a good platform to talk about timely topics. Previous interviews focused on Virtual School From Home Tips, Parenting Stress During the Holidays, and Navy Football Takes on Racism with an assistant coach and running back. 

Engage with a quiz. After a brief hiatus, Education Week quizzes are back and they’re timely. “Quiz Yourself: How Much Do You Know About Elementary Remote Instruction? How are elementary educators responding to the shift to remote learning, and what challenges do elementary students and teachers face with remote instruction?” It’s sponsored by Square Panda, but Education Week maintains editorial control. You have to give your email address to see the results. For this quiz, there were 994 participants. In the past, Education Week would regularly achieve nearly 90% quiz completions and around 60% of people who completed the quiz filling out the registration form. The most recent quiz asks How Much Do You Know About Personal Learning? and is sponsored by HP.